Episode 80: February 21, 2012
by Ben Greenfield
One of the most common complaints I hear about exercise is that folks simply “don’t have enough time.” And while it is certainly true that workouts can take you away from productive activities such as finishing a paper, studying for school, and completing work projects, there’s no reason that you can’t actually accomplish some of these tasks while you’re exercising. So in this article, you’ll learn how to be more productive during your workouts, how to get things done while you’re exercising, and tips and techniques for not wasting time.
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7 Ways To Be More Productive During Your Workout
#1. Use a Treadmill Workstation
In the episode 7 Ways To Burn Calories By Standing More, I introduce the concept of a standing or treadmill workstation, which can easily be integrated into a home office setting. That way, you can ambulate while engaging in other productive activities. In this article I teach you how to make a standing desk and create a treadmill workstation. I have clients who slowly walk several miles each day while working, and I personally do almost 90% of my writing in the standing position.
#2. Talk While Moving
If I have a phone call or meeting for which it isn’t necessary for me to be sitting at a computer, I’ll put on my phone headset, go for a walk, and engage in the discussion while I’m walking. I also have a stationary bicycle at home, which I ride while on phone meetings. If you tend to make a lot of calls during your workday, there’s no reason you can’t burn calories at the same time!
#3. Learn While Moving
If you’re a student, or you work in a job for which you need to be engaged in continuing education and learning, you can do much of this while you’re weight training, bicycling, running, or if you have an underwater .mp3 player, even while you’re swimming! Many universities make their lectures available in podcast format, and if something is available in video format only, there are many types of software you can get for free on the internet that can convert videos into audios.
#4. Listen to Podcasts or Audiobooks
Even if you’re not a student and continuing education is not necessary for your job, you can still feel like you’re “not wasting time” with your workout if you are able to listen to your favorite book, to the news, or to an educational or entertaining podcast (ahem, Get-Fit Guy) while you’re exercising. For me, it’s tough to go out on a 100-mile Ironman triathlon training bike ride and simply listen to music for 5 hours. I’d rather be more productive and make myself smarter by listening to financial, news, entertainment, and science podcasts – and of course, to my favorite Quick and Dirty Tips hosts!
#5. Have a Pen Handy
Exercise increases blood flow to your brain, and consequently, you may find yourself struck by a creative or breakthrough idea while you’re in the middle of a workout. For this reason, it makes sense to have something around to record your idea so that you don’t forget it. I always have a writing utensil tucked away somewhere during my workout, such as in my backpack at the gym, in my pocket, or in the back of my bike jersey. When I think of something I need to remember, I jot it quickly down on the inside of my hand, and then reference it later when I’m done with my workout. I’ve had some of my best ideas while exercising, and would have completely forgotten them if I didn’t have something to write with.
#6. Take Your Computer to the Gym
Sometimes I’ll have a meeting, a writing deadline, or other tasks to finish, but I’ll also have a trip to the gym planned. Since many gyms have tables, a small café, and wireless internet access, I’ll go to the gym, get some work done on my laptop, and then go straight into my workout, or vice versa. The simple act of doing some work at the gym makes you more likely to go hop on a treadmill or hit the weights after you’ve finished, rather than crashing onto the couch and turning on the TV.
#7. Use a Smartphone Armband
Many of us use smartphones to get work or other productive tasks done – and of course the size and portability of a smartphone ensures that you can carry it during a workout. Exercise armbands that hold your smartphone are easy to find online, or at your local sporting goods store – and by having your smartphone during your workout, you’re able to listen to educational resources, take notes when necessary, or even stop to make an important phone call if you need to.
Ultimately, if you try to be too productive during your workout, you’ll sacrifice the quality of your exercise – and any intense or highly athletic workout typically does require 100% focus. But in many cases, you can move, increase cardiovascular or muscular fitness, and be productive all at the same time. Remember that every little bit of exercise helps you become healthier!
If you have more questions about ways to be more productive while you exercise, or your own tips about how to be more productive during a workout, share them in Comments or on the Get-Fit Guy Facebook page!
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